Saturday, April 25, 2015

Turnbull Canyon

I just rode what must have been one of the ten best rides ever. Amber and I met Iria, Elizabeth, and Tracey at Joe's Crab Shack in Seal Beach and rode up the San Gabriel bike path to Turnbull Canyon in Whittier and back. Elizabeth and Tracey were planning on riding only 30 miles and skipping the canyon, but Iria, Amber, and I planned on riding 50 up to the top of the canyon and back.

Turnbull Canyon is a huge surprise. I didn't expect to find a quiet country road with almost no traffic right in the middle of Los Angeles. The road was crawling with cyclists (well it's about a 6% grade for nearly two miles) but I attacked hard and held about 8mph which is pretty good for me.

We are about ten miles from down-town Los Angeles

Amber was trying out her new Topeak MTX rack and bag so I helped her test it by putting my sweater and a large Monster drink in the bag. Obviously she had no trouble keeping up with me, even so. The rack and bag performed well except that they make a lot of noise as the plastic at the base of the bag knocks against the metal of the rack. I think some sticky-backed dense foam strips would help a lot. I'm thinking draft-excluder.

On the way down we saw Elizabeth climbing the canyon. Apparently she had changed her mind. We turned around and re-climbed the canyon with her - much to the surprise of some cyclists that were resting at the top who thought we had just reclimbed the entire canyon. We did nothing to correct their error :-)

Heading down for the second time we met up with Tracey who had been waiting patiently at the bottom and grabbed some breakfast together. Decent, but not as good as Cook's Corner in my opinion.

L-R. Tracey, Amber, Elizabeth, and Iria
Then we ambled back onto the San Gabriel trail for the last 15 miles back. Tracey was struggling so I tried to pull her back to the group but she couldn't stay on. It didn't help that Iria pulled at 22mph into a strong headwind for a while. We felt six drops of rain (California Monsoon!) on the way back to the cars. Iria, Amber, and I took turns pulling into the headwind (we got so screwed by the wind) and we made it back in good time. About two minutes after we finished it started to rain properly. Great timing.

So, bike path, great new road, climbing, good food, some competition, and a great group. All the ingredients of an awesome ride.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Test ride with new gear

I went for a lovely 40 mile ride with Sherry last Saturday and rode my Anaheim-Oceanside 125k permanent with Amber and Iria on Sunday. Iria has not ridden this route before and she seemed to really enjoy it.

I was having some problems with my 10+ year old seat post on the ride and couldn't get the pitch of my saddle to stay locked in so I decided to replace it. I bought a Botranger seatpost from Redlands Cyclery. This is a very reasonably priced seatpost which has a neat feature. Instead of one bolt that controls everything and makes setting the precise pitch of the saddle almost impossible, this one uses two bolts that allow you to easily set the saddle position. I love it. Redlands Cyclery even put a dab of grease on the shaft so I could insert it easily.

I've also been having problems with the USB port on my Cygolite headlight which is a shame because it's only about two years old. I decided to buy a new one which was also an upgrade to a brighter model.

With all this new gear, and a major ride coming up, I had to do a test ride after work last night so I decided to ride the upper SART.

It was windier than normal with a 15-20 mph wind out of the SW which was a headwind on the way out. I had the new seat post dialed in and I mounted the new light where the old one went. The new light came with a helmet mount option so I put the old light on my helmet to see if I liked it.

The ride out went really well. Despite the headwind I maintained a 17-18 mph average feeling unusually strong. After turning around I was holding 20-22 mph and completed the 38 mile ride in just two hours. I rode so fast I only had five miles of darkness to test the lights in. They did great.

The seat post performed well although I had to stop and retighten the bolts after 30 miles so I think a light touch of loctite will be necessary. The cygolite on the helmet didn't bother me, although I probably wouldn't ride with the light mounted during the day.

A friend of mine sent me a link to a new paint called LifePaint being tested by Volvo that contains microscopic glass beads that reflect light. There's a temporary water-based version and a permanent oil-based version too. Interesting.

Monday, April 13, 2015

After the 600k

I haven't done much riding over the past two weeks because of the time it took to host my 600k. Now I need to spend some more time on the bike.

Saturday was a rare perfect day for riding that actually fell on a weekend. Normally the week is lovely and it gets crappy for the weekend. I rode the entire upper SART with Sherry on Saturday morning and the rode the Back Bay in the evening with Amber for a total of 92 miles. Nice.

I had a virtual workout on Sunday following someone's gps track from Anacortes to Seattle. It was cool virtually riding past one of our favorite restaurants in Washington state.

Next Sunday I'm riding the Anaheim to Oceanside permanent with Amber and Iria. Hopefully I'll get to show Iria some new bike paths.

I just signed up for a 400k in Oregon. That's going to be my non-CA ride for 2015. It should be a lot of fun. It'll be nice getting up into Greg Olsen's part of the world for a change - he always rides my 600k.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Orange Triple Loop 600k

This weekend I hosted the Orange Triple Loop 400/600k brevet under the auspices of the PCH Randos group. I had 38 riders registered and one DNS so at 5am on Saturday morning, under a full lunar eclipse, 37 riders rode off into a warm Orange County morning towards the Pacific Ocean.

Riders at the start of the Orange Triple Loop. Note the Elliptigos to the right.
There were several riders who were trying for their first 600k including quite a few who planned on using this ride as a PBP qualifier. Many of the riders I had met before but many were new to me.

Pete Eade and Nick Matyas are old friends of mine and Pete was making yet another quixotic tilt at a 600 km brevet. Now Pete is 73 and has recently had prostate surgery. He can ride 400k but has never completed a 600k brevet. Nick is a youthful 63 and is a slow and steady rider who can complete a 600k but hasn't done so since 2010. They met up by accident about half way through the ride and Nick decided he would jeopardize his 600k in order to give Pete the best possible chance of completing his first. I'm pleased to note they completed the ride together with 90 minutes to spare. I think Nick is exactly what Pete needed.

Lisa and Michelle were riding together from the start. I know Lisa from way back but Michelle had come all the way from Minnesota to ride with Lisa. It was warmer than the weatherman had said it would be so I don't know if Michelle liked the hot spring weather or not. In the end it didn't matter because she is a monster rider with a K-Hound in 2012 and pretty close in 2013 and 2014. She has done rides I can only fantasize about. Lisa has ridden many 600k brevets too and has ridden my 400k but has never ridden my 600k. They both finished looking good and with a comfortable time buffer.

Gary Feldstein is a real character. He's fairly new to the randonneuring scene but as an established RAAM and RAW competitor he has already made quite a splash. He finished the Matthew O'Neil memorial 600k last year before anyone else and made it clear he planned to do the same thing on my 600k. He pre-rode the entire course and was the first person to notice that one of the controls had disappeared. His target was a 24 hour 600k. He actually managed 25 hours which is still faster than I would have thought possible. I don't even think he slept after the ride because I saw him at the Dennys restaurant three hours after he finished as alert as ever.

Shai Shprung has ridden many of my rides on his fixie and also rode straight through. He finished in a very respectable 28:30 even though he pulled something in his knee and rode the last 90 miles virtually with one leg. I hope he can get that fixed soon.

I had three Elliptigo riders signed up who were hoping to get PBP qualified but Bill Pinnell almost didn't start because he was not feeling well. Fortunately the format of the ride gives the rider the option to bottle out after (only) 100 miles. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. In Bill's case I think he made the right decisions - start the ride and then DNF at 100 miles. He looked very pale. I'm sure he'll be more successful on Nicole's 600k later this month. The second elliptigo was Steve Cook who succumbed to the heat during the second loop. The third elliptigo rider was James Cremer who completed the 600k course in good form for a personal distance best.

Iria Pico has become a welcome member of our group with her smile and her positive attitude. This was the last ride she needed to get PBP qualified and she managed to complete the ride in good time but feeling very tired. I don't think she got as much sleep as she hoped she would. Congratulations to Iria and Luciano for getting PBP qualified on their first attempt.

Greg and Stacey Kline rode the 400k version of the route just one week after completing Willie's brutal desert 600k. They rode very relaxed and came in slightly after dark looking very happy and relaxed.

Greg Olsen and Keith Olson (who I keep getting confused for some reason) also rode. Greg I know from way back. He rides insane numbers of km as well as being very involved in bike advocacy in his home state of Oregon. Amber and I plan on visiting his neck of the woods in May to ride our 400k this year. Greg breezed in at the end of his 600k looking like he just got out of bed. Keith looked a bit more tired (that's him on the stairs) but very happy.

Jonathon Gray is another old friend. He has just purchased an orange velomobile and although he has ridden several populaires this was his first attempt at a long ride. On the first loop he had several minor technical problems and also discovered that some of the tight turns on the bike path were not navigable with the velomobile's wide turning circle. On the second loop a section of pvc tubing that houses the chain came loose and jammed up in the rear cassette which crunched the tube so that the chain could no longer travel smoothly through it. This turned out to be a ride ender. Fortunately his brother was able to collect him and return him to the end of the ride. There's no way I could have carried that thing on top of my Prius without a special rack.

Congratulations to the following riders who completed personal best distances on this ride. Apologies if I missed anyone. Feel free to assume you looked so fresh I thought you couldn't possibly have just set a personal best.

Scott Cowan (600)
James Cremer (600)
Pete Eade (600)
Andre Goeritz (400)
Luciano Gonzales (600)
Howard Marans (600)
Keith Olsen (600)
Iria Pico (600)
Kevin Walsh (400)
Foon Hoe Wong (400)
Roger Young (600)
James Yuan (600)

In addition, the following riders set a personal best time...
Bill Brier (400) 15:31
Gary Feldstein (600) 24:58
Mac Imacseng (600) 32:04
Hector Maytorena (600) 32:04
Shai Shprung (600) 28:31

Rogue's Gallery

Nice Bike

Pete is glowing with pride